Brain-Computer Interfaces: Everything You Need to Know

Early 2017 has been an exciting time for brain-computer interface (BCI) development. Major players in the tech industry have announced their involvement in the field.

Elon Musk announced his new venture Neuralink, which is fueled by the fear of humans being left behind by A.I.

Several weeks later, Facebook announced their own efforts led by DARPA’s Regina Dugan to enable users to type 100 words per minute using just their minds.

But how do they work? What else will they be used for?

Let’s find out…

What is a BCI?

Simply put, a brain-computer interface is a way to connect the brain to an external device in order to send and/or receive information directly from it. They’re nothing new as research started in the early 70’s, so why are they gaining so much attention lately?

What makes BCIs so exciting?

Meet Steven Hawking

He is one of the most brilliant theoretical physicist of our time, greatly contributing to the fields of cosmology, quantum gravity, and black holes. Due to a nasty neurodegenerative disease, he’s been trapped in his own body, unable to speak or move for several decades.

His mind is fully functional- he even writes books and gives lectures but unfortunately his way of communicating with the world has been reduced to typing through an mechanism embedded in his glasses using his cheek muscle movement, allowing him to type just one word per minute.

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